15. Dear Family – 28 Dec 2011

Hello. It was way fun to get to hear your voices on Sunday and talk to you all! Thank you so much for your Christmas package! I opened my presents right after I talked to you and I really loved that little leather journal. It is almost too classy to write in… I’m not quite sure what to write! However, thank you so much for thinking of me.

This week was both amazing, tough, fun, and disappointing. We lost some of our progressing investigators, had a huge Christmas activity, and went to the temple today!

The temple was remarkable. I have really taken it for granted what it is like to have a temple so close! The very northern part of our mission gets special permission from the Asia area presidency to go to the temple about twice or so a year. So you only get to go if you are up north. We were pretty much the cut off for who gets to go. We got up at 4:30am and had a less active member drive us at 5am to Taizhong. In Taizhong we met up with all the other missionaries from our zone and the Zhonghua zone and embarked on a 3-hour journey to Taipei to attend the temple. It was such a great trip. I was exhausted and it took most of preparation day but it was well worth it. I have really come to see the need for spiritual nourishment in our lives. While I have had a lot of stress on me and life has been tough and hard work, lately the temple offered peace and solace. It is a place we can escape from the cares of the world and have an opportunity to draw closer to our Father in Heaven! I would like to challenge each of you to find the time to go and feel the spirit of the Lord in the hallowed halls of the temple! I testify that it truly is a house of the Lord and his spirit most definitely dwells there.

Lately I have thought a lot about trials. Nantou zone (that is the county where Mingjian is) has really been struggling. All of our December baptisms dropped out and it was really saddening to invest all of our energy in these people we love with all of our heart, only to see them deny these blessings and walk away. Elder Olsen (also from Orem, he went to Orem High and has become a really close friend out here) taught district training. He told us about a story when they pulled out a tree in his front yard and the ground was barren even long after they had laid sod and waited for it to take root. Often it is the same in our lives. The harder we try, sometimes we don’t see immediate results. However, the spring will always come. I have come to really see the need for enduring to the end. It is in these moments we need it most!

I love you all. I hope your Christmas vacations are going wonderfully and Christmas was an excellent time to reflect on the Savior and His influence in your life!

I love you with all my heart!

Faithfully, your brother, son, and friend,
Elder Spencer K. Bailey



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